Job interviews are usually stressful, and a job interview in English can be doubly so. It’s worth taking the time to prepare for your job interview in English more thoroughly than you might prepare for a regular job interview (although you should be prepared for those too!), just so that you can feel more comfortable on the big day.
There are three main aspects to preparing for a job interview in English. First, there’s the standard preparation you would do for an interview in any language. This includes things like reading up on the company and planning out how you’ll present yourself, your education, and your work experience. You can get a lot of good advice in preparing for any interview by searching for things like “prepare for a job interview”. Read several articles and apply their advice in your preparations.
The second aspect of preparing for a job interview in English is reading up on common interview questions in English and thinking through your answers in advance. Here are some of the most common job interview questions in English:
- How would you describe yourself?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What do you do in your current role?
- Why would you like to work here?
- When could you start?
- Why kind of salary are you expecting?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Again, there are many articles and websites where you can find detailed advice about how to answer these questions. In planning your answers to commonly asked interview questions, consider you’re your use of the English language (correct usage of tenses, precise vocabulary, speaking clearly) and your ability to meet the cultural expectations of your interviewer.
In researching how to answer commonly-asked questions, stick to culturally appropriate sites for your particular situation. If you’re interviewing in the USA, read job articles on American websites, the same for the UK, Australia, or any other English-speaking country. If you’ll be having an interview in English in your own country, try to find out what nationality your interviewer is and refer to articles from that country. The more you’re able to meet your interviewer’s cultural expectations, the more comfortable he will feel with you, and the more likely he’ll be to offer you the job.
You should also look into whether or not you’ll be asked to take an English test during the interview. If you will be, get ready for that by taking the EF SET Certificate™, a free standardized English test that’s at least as challenging as what you’ll be asked to take in a job interview. As a bonus: when completing the EF SET English Certificate™, you will get your own dedicated Certificate URL, which you can easily add to your LinkedIn profile or your CV to professionally prove your English level.
The third aspect of preparing for a job interview in English is practice. Because English isn’t your native language, you need to practice responding out loud to common interview questions in English. If you have someone to practice with, great! Give the person a list of questions, have him read them out, and practice answering aloud.
If you don’t have someone to practice with, use the recording software on your phone or computer to practice reading out the question and then answering it. Play back your recording when you’re done. Listen to see if you can understand every word, and consider how you can improve, for example by speaking more clearly or using more precise vocabulary. Look up the words you need and don’t hesitate to try the same question several times. Your goal is to be able to answer the most common interview questions without hesitation. That will give you more wiggle room when it comes to answering the unexpected questions that always come up in an interview.
While research and self-recording can feel silly, they’re enormously useful tools for building confidence answering the questions that you are likely to be asked. Preparing for a job interview in English is worth a little embarrassment. After all, it may just get you the job of your dreams!